Some old, abandoned barns provide interesting surprises in the form of black walnut that has been hiding under years of weather-beaten exposure. Although hard to comprehend today, black walnut was commonly used for barn construction generations ago because of its exceptional decay resistance and abundant supply.
Today the law of supply and demand has made black walnut one of the most expensive of all domestic species. The chocolaty brown color of this species brings a warm, comfortable look to any room, while its strength and durability ensure that assemblies are likely to last for generations. The hardness of black walnut falls between cherry (softer) and oak (harder).
In the workshop, black walnut works quite easily with both power and hand tools, and its outstanding stability prevents woodworkers from getting bent out of shape with frustration. It planes, carves, and turns beautifully, with very infrequent tearing and ripping. While it has excellent gluing properties, allergies are common. The rich color is perfect for clear finishing, and it polishes beautifully.
Woodworkers are willing to pay a premium price for black walnut to complete their finest projects. Considering the price, it is generally reserved for fine indoor applications nowadays such as architectural millwork, cabinetry, and fine furniture.
Wood grain images provided by HobbitHouseInc.com